To smash your sales targets, you need to have an array of closing techniques at your disposal. Now more than ever before, closing is vital to your success as a sales person. This is because, given the economic uncertainty, buyers are much more cautious when making commitments in today’s marketplace.
In this article we will teach 7 Killer Closing Techniques that will show you how to close a sale in any situation.
They will help you: alleviate buyer concerns, speed up the sales process, and increase sales.
Closing sales: the basics:
A close is a commitment from a buyer to a sales person to either agree to signing the contract or to formally move on to the next stage of the sales process. To win the deal, it is crucial that you are able to close sales by gaining a commitment from your buyer.
But remember, closing techniques are useful at every stage of the sales process and not just when the contract is finally signed. After all, your objective as a sales person is always to get the buyer to commit to moving to next stage of the deal, whether it be at the beginning or end of the sales process.
Asking the right questions:
To get the buyer to commit to moving on to the next stage of the deal and, ultimately, signing the contract as quickly as possible, you need to ask the right questions. Here you need start off by using open questions to:
- Demonstrate an awareness of the prospect’s world and their most pressing needs
- Establish that their needs are a high priority, complemented by a compelling event
- Make sure the prospect is not working with a competitor
- Clarify that your proposal and return on investment satisfies the prospect’s needs and timescales
- Establish that you are better than the competition
- Ensure that the prospect will take the necessary actions to move the sale ahead or to sign the contract
Make sure that your conversation starts off with open (or semi-open) closes and funnel towards closed questions at the end of each stage of the sales process. Once this is achieved, you are ready to apply some of the 7 Killer Closing Techniques…
The 7 Killer Closing Techniques:
The following ‘killer’ closing techniques will help you press your buyers towards a clear commitment to signing the contract and, thus, will help you increase sales:
The Trial Close:
This closing technique is probably the most common that salespeople use. The trial close enables you to test the buyer’s intent at every stage of the sales process to ensure that you are on the right track to gaining their commitment. It can be used, for example, to check if you are meeting the buyer’s critical needs or if they are willing to commit their resources to taking the sale forward. It can also be used to ensure that the buyer has no objections that might hinder the sale.
Here’s some examples of a trial close:
“If we could overcome this objection by lunchtime, would you be prepared to sign the contract today?”
“Does everything we have talked about today satisfy your needs and desires?”
“So if we could satisfy your requirements, you would you be willing to commit your resources to making the deal go ahead by 31st December?”
With this closing technique you should be looking for a “green light” from the prospect to enable you need move on to the next stage of the sale. The trial close is a great means of testing the water to ensure that you have captured the prospect’s interest.
The Direct Close:
The direct close should only be used when you’ve done all the groundwork and preparation for the sale and you are extremely confident that the prospect will respond positively. Here you should be certain that either your prospect has a burning desire for your solution or that your relationship is strong enough (on a personal level) to the extent that you are able to be direct with a forthright request.
Here are a couple of examples of a direct close:
“Can I ask you to sign the order today?”
“Now that everything is agreed, will you commit to signing the contract right now?”
Be cautious if you intend to apply a direct close. The prospect may view your confidence as misplaced and could quickly stereotype you as just another pushy sales person.
The Pressure Close:
This closing technique is one of our favourites. The pressure close is great to apply if you have created a compelling event during your conversation that creates a great enough pressure on the prospect for them to realise that they have a need, or strategic desire, for your solution.
Examples of a pressure close:
“So that you can satisfy the regulatory requirements for sales call recordings, can we agree to sign the contract today to get back on track for meeting the solution’s deadline?”
“To cope with the turbulent economic conditions which are affecting your industry, can we agree to sign the contract today so that you do not experience external pain or internal pressures in the future?
The pressure close can be used in almost any situations. However, it is important to mix it up with some trial closes to ensure that you are in a position to apply pressure on the prospect. Our advice to less experienced salespeople is that, if you’re going to focus on a couple of closing techniques, practice and implement combinations of the trial and pressure closes.
The Negotiated Close:
This type of closing technique should be used to overcome what you think is an unreasonable objection or demand. This is a great closing technique to use with prospects who like to haggle for every last ounce of value and raise plenty of objections. It can also be used when you know that a prospect’s request is outside the scope of your proposal and/or capabilities.
Examples of a negotiated close:
“If you sign the contract this morning we can start work tomorrow to get back on track with the project. Can we agree on that?”
“If we can sign the contract today, we can start work on these concerns first thing tomorrow morning. Is that something you would be willing to commit to?”
These examples may seem evasive but can really work if you show enough enthusiasm to take the sale forward and convince your buyer that their concerns are merely hurdles which can be overcome.
The Alternative Close:
An alternative close can be a powerful closing technique, particularly if you sense that the prospect is not satisfied with the solution alone that you intend to offer them.
Examples of an alternative close:
“Do you want the contract to contain the first or the second option when we sign today?”
“Which of these three solutions works best for you?”
“Shall we proceed to the next stage of the sale this week or next week?”
This can be a great closing technique since buyers typically like choices at the point of sale. The alternative close provides them with alternatives, which may be in the form of added-value or an entirely separate product that is shaped to meet their needs. But remember, prospects don’t like to be bamboozled by too many choices so make sure that you get the balance right.
The Assumptive Close:
The assumptive close is a closing technique used by salespeople to act as though the prospect has already decided to go ahead with your solution or is ready to move to the next stage of the sales process.
Examples of an assumptive close:
“So when shall we deliver this solution to you by?”
“What will your competitors think when you implement the solution?
“I’ll send the contract out now for you to sign and get back to me today. Is that okay for you?”
This closing technique enables the mindset of the prospect to shift from their needs and desire for your solution to the benefits and advantages they will enjoy once they implement your solution. But beware, this kind of close should only be used once you’ve received a verbal agreement from your buyer and you’re just tying up the loose ends. Similarly to the direct close, you should be highly confident that you have satisfied the buyer’s needs and that they are ready to move to the next stage of the sale before applying this type of closing technique. Misusing the assumptive close can give the buyer the impression that you are overconfident and pushy.
The Rebound Close:
A rebound close uses the opportunity of a buyer request (or even an objection) to force a commitment to get what you want and to move on to the next stage. It is a reactive closing technique and typically used by more experienced sales people, but can be highly effective if you know what you are doing and have researched the prospect well.
Example of a rebound close:
Buyer: “When can you get the engineers started on implementing the solution?”
Seller: “Well if you sign the contract this morning, I can schedule the engineers to start work tomorrow, in line with the project timescales…”
This example shows that salespeople can effectively react to a buyer request by hitting them with a compelling close to commitment that plays on the buyer’s initial statement. This can be highly effective in accelerating the sales process.
The 7 Killer Closing Techniques are tried and tested methods of closing that we teach on our sales training events and through our online sales training programme, Black Belt Selling. Feedback from senior management and sales leadership teams suggest that using a right combination of these closing techniques has helped them dramatically increase sales and enabled their people to smash their sales targets.
What’s more, they can even be used to gain a commitment or a close from key people in your own organisation. The very same closing techniques can be used to develop your career by closing a promotion or being assigned to the types of deals that you favour the most!
Written by: Steve Eungblut, Managing Director of Sterling Chase